Students reach out through Alternative Spring Break

Samantha Sigler

When most people imagine Spring Break, they think of warm water, sunny beaches and relaxation.

However, some Linfield students imagined a much different scenario; 1,050 hours of community service, learning about affordable housing, wetland restoration and youth literacy, as well as, reaching out to local communities all across America.

For Linfield’s 2012 Alternative Spring Break, three different teams, which consisted of Linfield students and faculty advisers, went to three different places in America to carry out specific community service actions.

One group when to New Orleans, La., to help restore wetlands and post-hurricane native environments, one group went to Tacoma, Wash., to help build Habitat for Humanity homes and learn about issues of affordable housing. The last group went to Newport, Ore., and aided with community organizations to mentor homeless youth.

“Spring Break [is] often spent vacationing,” sophomore Tianna Muniz said in an email. “Alternative Spring Break gives students a chance to bond with students that may have never crossed paths otherwise, while giving your time to help others.”

Muniz was one of the students in the group who went to New Orleans, where they stayed at common grounds relief in the lower 9th ward. While there, the students were guided by volunteers at common ground through several different projects that focused upon saving the wetlands around different parts of New Orleans.

“Going to New Orleans gave me a little insight on the effects natural disasters have on the community and environment,” Muniz said. “Six years after hurricane Katrina, there are still houses, building and perhaps the most important, environments that have not been restored.”

Muniz’s group
consisted of six upperclassmen and six underclassmen, with students majoring in a variety of subjects.

In addition to the group who aided with the wetlands, other students helped lay PVC pipe for two houses, provided 57 children and 23 Siletz
Tribal Youth with lunch and activities, as well as, became more aware of how social factors such as race and socio-economic status can affect children’s education.

“Despite the realities of what we came back too, alternative spring break was a life changing experience,” Muniz said. “I plan on doing [it] again and would recommend others to do it as well. [It’s a week] that could potentially change [your] life.”

Samantha Sigler/
News editor
Samantha Sigler can be reached at [email protected]